Iconic bridge building’s judgement day
Iconic bridge building’s judgement day for UC engineering students next week
October 3, 2013
Bridge building has been one of the litmus tests for second year University of Canterbury (UC) civil engineering students for nearly 20 years.
Next Monday will
be the iconic bridge building day on the banks of the Avon
River at UC for almost 200 civil engineering students. See
preview YouTube video here: http://youtu.be/MLvDjjfPPk0
They will be testing their own designed and built bridges in 30 teams to prove their bridges can hold two people but fail with three people on them.
UC senior lecturer in structural engineering Dr Alessandro Palermo says students have had to design innovative shapes and make their bridges aesthetically pleasant.
``This leads to complex and strange bridges and the students feels more challenged and motivated. Students get inspiration from famous bridge designers to come up with their own innovative concepts. No wonder students are keen to enrol in engineering for 2014.
``The competition is the event of the year in the civil and natural resources department at UC. People love watching the bridges being tested and students falling into the water. We had more than 500 people watch last year.
``We believe we are the only university of our kind in the world actually having students test their designed and constructed bridges. We are unique in the world and we do it because we have great technicians and great support from our department.
``Although, there are not many bridge engineers in New Zealand, the hope is to stimulate the creativity and will for innovation for the next generation of bridge engineers.’’
Dr Palermo was this week named, along with Professor Andy Buchanan and Associate Professor Stefano Pampanin, as a winner of UC’s Innovation Medal for using their academic knowledge to benefit the wider community.
The trio were chosen as the medal winners following their innovative contribution to a whole new system of earthquake-resistant buildings using post-tensioned structural timber. Their pioneering UC research has lifted engineered timber buildings into serious contention for the Christchurch rebuild after the earthquakes.
Dr Palermo has been at the forefront of new designs for New Zealand bridges since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.